President Robert Mugabe yesterday left Harare for South Africa to attend today’s Fort Hare University’s centenary celebrations, as students at the institution protested against his counterpart, Jacob Zuma.
BY Staff Reporter
Students at the Alice campus at the Eastern Cape based university on Wednesday set fire at the entrance, claiming management had failed to meet their transport, accommodation and financial aid demands.
The students burnt a marquee, supposed to be used during today’s centenary celebrations.
Mugabe, a Fort Hare alumnus, will join thousands of other former students in celebrating the centenary. But current students have threatened to disrupt Zuma’s speech and only listen to Mugabe “because Bob is a graduate”.
Fort Hare vice-chancellor, Mvuyo Tom confirmed to online news agencies that students had burnt tyres on the streets outside the campus.
Zuma is expected to deliver the keynote address, while Mugabe will speak as an alumnus.
However, it might not be all merry making, as threats of student protests increased and the Zimbabwe People First (ZimPF) and the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) objected to Mugabe’s visit.
The opposition parties yesterday threatened to protest demanding that the institution should withdraw Mugabe’s invitation.
ZimPF interim co-ordinator in South Africa, Builder Lawrence Mavhaire urged the university to withdraw the invitation to Mugabe alleging that he had embarrassed the institution’s former graduates through his record of human rights abuses.
The PDP’s South Africa branch said they would demonstrate by bringing down portraits of Mugabe put up at the university.
“PDP will carry Zimbabwean flags during the protests. We, therefore, invite all Zimbabweans to join the demonstration against Mugabe,” read the message from the Tendai Biti-led party.